Mar 27 2006

Storytime: the Birth of Ethan

Published by at 10:17 am under amy's head,daily,random

Anyone else notice how I had a whole daily post thing going for about 2 weeks there?

And then this weekend I BLEW IT!

Oh well :)

I have been meaning to write about the birth of my kids for some time now, maybe because someone out there might enjoy hearing about it, but mostly because it is already faded in my memory and I want to have it down so I will remember it when the memory is totally gone.

It actually took us a while to get pregnant with Ethan. I think it took about 7 months. We weren’t too worried, but I must have been a wee bit worried because I remember I had bought an ovulation test and had started using it the month I turned up pregnant. It was pretty exciting, being pregnant for the first time. People would always ask me 2 things (and, it’s always what I ask others who are pregnant, so I’m to blame too) 1) Do you have morning sickness? and 2) Have you had any weird cravings?

I DID have morning sickness, but it was only super bad in relation to my prenatal vitamin. The one that is chocked so full of iron it makes your poop black and not want to come out AT ALL. The iron also made me want to puke until my stomach went on strike. One morning I popped my vitamin and then headed to work only to have to open the door and puke out my breakfast onto the road at a stop light. Once I clued in that my stomach couldn’t handle the vitamin, I started taking it at night RIGHT before bed and I did much better. I still had that general nauseous feeling, but it was never bad enough to actually make me vomit. I would also start to feel all queasy if I needed to a) pee, or b) eat something.

I never thought I had cravings. UNTIL!

I was really hankering from some Taco Bell. Well, there is a place in Bethesda MD that I used to go to every day, when I worked there, called California Tortilla. MMmmmm. Love me the california tortilla (they have since franchised and I get me some CT lovin’ on a much more regular basis, oh yum). Well, I had been wanting taco bell lately, and one weekend we were going to go the the rennaisance festival in Maryland. James had mentioned how CT IS on the way (sort of) and maybe we could make a pit stop for some California Tortilla burrito love. I waited for the excitement to grow, and it was at that moment, I realized that I did have cravings.. Even though I loved California Tortilla burritos more than life itself, I did NOT want one. I did not want the crunchy bbq ranchy CT goodness! I did NOT want the best chips int eh world dipped into the perfect queso one has ever tasted! NO! I DID NOT! I wanted to go to Taco Bell, and no CT alternative would suffice, IT HAD TO BE TACO BELL!

That is when I realized that YES, I HAD WEIRD CRAVINGS!!? :)

I would have to say that the best part of pregnancy is the 2nd trimester. The trimester when you’re showing, but not huge. The trimester when you’ve lost that queasy butterfly in your stomach so you may vomit, feeling. The trimester when you are randy and horny as hell and sex is still fun and not a complicated exercise in strange positions, and it is also the trimester when you actually feel that little life inside of you moving about and you’re certain that’s what it is and it’s not just gas (the 1st trimester, I could never be SURE).

The third trimester, just plain sucks. You stomach becomes huge, and absolutely rigid and hard and not at all amenable to being bumped. That is the worst part of being pregnant, I think. The no bumping. After I had both my kids, I used to just walk around the house bumping into things with my stomach, JUST BECAUSE I COULD. The waddling, the back aches, the unable to pick up anything off the ground without huge effort.. it just sucks. And it lasts FOREVER.

Overall, I would have to give pregnancy a thumbs down. Sure, I can get kind of nostalgic about it now that it’s over and I have 2 darling kids to show for it, but in general, I don’t fancy pregnant. When some women go on about how they loved being pregnant and blah blah blah, I just cannot relate. It’s long, and you can’t drink a lot of things you like, and what with needing a crane to turn over in bed the last month and a half.. I definitely am glad there won’t be any more pregnancies in my future (so we THINK).

I remember going to the doctor when I was pregnant with Ethan. Fairly early on, they detected a growth of some sort near my uterus that they couldn’t really figure out what it was. They kept sending me in for ultrasounds often to track the unknown thingee, and they pretty much decided it was fluid filled, and wasn’t going to hurt anything, but they’d still monitor it. They decided it was probably a symptom of endometriosis (i bet I’m so getting that wrong, it’s been a while) and may dissipate on it’s own in time. They knew he was a big baby from the get go, and when the ultrasounds at the end of the pregnancy pointed out he was breech, along with this mystery thingee to monitor, they scheduled me for a c-section. We had taken childbirth classes, and learned all about the different stages of birth and what happens and why and blah blah blah.. I was so devastated to learn I would not get to experience ANY part of that. The c-section was scheduled Thursday, the week before his due date. It was downright eerie going to bed the night before, knowing that the next day we would meet our baby.

James didn’t want to know the sex of the baby, and I was ok with going along with that, thought it was FREAKING HARD PEOPLE. It was a bit exciting, not knowing what we would have until the big day arrived, but when pregnancy #2 rolled around, I told James we weren’t doing that again. I needed the info! Gotta have the 411! Purple or blue, I gotta know! We decorated the baby room with a beautiful green paint on the walls and a John Lennon “Musical Parade” crib theme that wasn’t really gender specific. I think I felt like I knew it would be a boy, but who knows, hindsight is 20/20, right? I KNOW that I would have been surprised if it turned out to be a girl.

So the morning came, and we arose early and got ourselves to the hospital. I don’t remember much of the waiting, but somehow, I got myself in the gorgeous open green hospital gown, and had to go into the operating room by myself, while James waited outside in the hall, while I got my epidermal.

Oh. My. God, was it awful.

First of all, when an epidermal is normally administered, the ladies are already experiencing pain and are probably just relieved to have some relief from that pain. It is quite another thing to go walking in totally normal and pain free and have them shove a 3 inch needle into your spinal column. When you are totally fine. Without pain. It was so awful, I can’t tell you how awful it was (and yet, in spite of not being able to tell you, I will attempt to anyway).

I remember the nurse standing right in front of me and her hands on my shoulders, pressing down. They told me to look down and keep my back rounded (yeah, YOU try to keep YOUR back rounded when you have something bigger than a bowling bowl in your uterus) and my shoulders down. The anesthesiologist (heretofore known as the Evil Needle Man, or ENM) was supposed to administer a local anesthetic which was supposed to numb the area, so that when the Big One went in, I didn’t feel it much. Well, I felt it much.

It hurt. SO. BAD. I have never had to urge to SPOUT PROFANITY so vehemently before (or since!) in my life. I could not KEEP myself from cussing out that guy and everything in the room, because of the pain. The nurse had to keep pressing on my shoulders and saying over and over, “shoulders down, back rounded” because a split second would go by and I would forget and tense my shoulders up to my ears and straighten my back.

It hurt so so so so so so so badly. It was AWFUL.

I am happy to report that when the time came for epidural #2 (with jocelyn) it wasn’t nearly so bad. In comparison, it was a sweet summer breezy breeze.

Anyway. After the epidural was in and working, my whole body was altered. I was no longer in a “normal” state. I could not stop shivering. It wasn’t the “i’m cold” shivering, but the, “every muscle in my body is totally tensed to the point that they are shaking and I can’t stop them” shivering. My doctor had talked to me before about the possibility of watching the operation in a mirror. She said that a c-section can seem so weird to some women because they don’t even feel like it is happening to themselves. At the time, I thought, hell yeah! I want to watch! How cool would that be! Like my very own personal version of “Birth Story”, except with my own abdomen, and my own baby.

However, in the moment, I had to devote every moment of my attention to breathing, and trying to relax and not shiver. I felt like someone was sitting on my chest and every breath was a huge effort. When I told the ENM that I was having a hard time breathing, he assumed it was because of the angle of my head/neck, and fetched me a pillow. I then had a neck-based headache for the next week because my muscles had tensed themselves in this odd position and there they stayed for the next week.

The birth/operation itself was surreal and strange. I felt a lot of pressure and tugging, and I remember asking, “Have you started yet?” and the doctor laughing and assuring me yes, they’d started, a few minutes ago. I remember she announced, “It’s a boy!” and they showed him to us both over the curtain, but it was too high and I didn’t see him. They went and cleaned him up and performed all the APGAR tests, and then brought him back to my side. I wish I could say that when they showed me my son, I was overcome with joy and elation and everything else fled, but honestly, I still was just trying to get through it all. James sat with him in his arms next to me for a while, and I turned and looked at him as long as I could before my neck rebelled and I had to turn my head upward again and close my eyes and think, “breath, breathe, breathe, keep breathing..” It is blurry now, but they wanted to take Ethan into the nursery for some reason, heat lamps or something, and since I had another 30-40 minutes to go, James left my side to go be next to Ethan (at my bidding, lest anyone think he was a callous idiot husband).

So they finished up the c-section, my doctor reported to me on the state of my uterus (pretty bad scarring from endometriosis) stitched me up. The first part of a c-section is quick. They slice through the abdomen wall, and then through the uterine wall, get the baby out, all in the first 5-8 minutes. Then, they have to make sure everything is out of the uterus (placenta, etc.) sew up the uterus, sew up the abdomen, etc. and that takes another 30-40 minutes. It pretty much sucks, having your baby outside of you, while you are stuck on the operating table waiting for them to finish sewing you up. It doubly sucked for me, because my baby and my husband weren’t in the same room as me, and I had to lay there and concentrate on the ability to breath in and out, and listen to ENM plan his weekend on his cell phone (which consisted of a fishing trip, and don’t bring your skanky girlfriend, because she’s a ho and will ruin the entire trip. This is what I heard, after having my son removed from my uterus. Oh joy.)

They finished, and the massive drugs part of the epidural was tapered off and morphine was kicked in so that the whole shaking shivering breathing problems abated. They took me into the recovery room where I laid there, waiting, in a very surreal, weird state of mind. I remember being very calm and watching the clock, wondering where my baby and my husband were. I laid there for an hour and a half before James came back in. I had asked where they were, and they told me that they were giving Ethan a bath. When James came back in, he told me that they wanted to keep Ethan under the heat lamps for a little while because he was a little cold from his first bath. So it wasn’t until about 2 hours later, when they finally brought my baby in for me to hold.

He was, the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. He had the most precious little head, and if there is ANY pros for c-sections, it’s that the baby’s head is perfectly shaped, no weird cone-head that often comes with a normal birth (this is so not a pro. i’m just saying. you take what you can get.) He had the fuzzy dark brown down all over his head and I immediately noticed he had the same “tornado” that his daddy has. James’ hair grows in a swirly swirl near the front right over his left eye. I have buzzed his head often, and I always have to be careful getting all the hairs over that spot that grow all which ways, so I noticed it on Ethan’s head right away. It just melted my heart :) He had gray eyes that didn’t seem to look right to me, and a few months later when they started to turn brown, it seemed to give his face a better coloring. The gray made him washed out, and when they finally went brown, he stopped looking sickly to me.

After that, it stopped being surreal, and started being the wonderful, exhausting experience it’s supposed to be. I hardly let him leave the room after that, and a few days later, we all went home to figure out our new identity as a family :)

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One Response to “Storytime: the Birth of Ethan”

  1. […] Mmmmm. I love California Tortilla. […]